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Major cleanup operations underway in Japan as typhoon leaves 3 dead, 5 missing

English.news.cn   2013-09-17 16:07:12            

TOKYO, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Major cleanup operations are underway across wide areas of Japan on Tuesday after typhoon Man- yi lashed a broad swathe of the mainland, leaving at least three people dead as police and firefighters were still searching for others missing in the wake of the storm.

Local media also reported that dozens were also left injured following the typhoon, with winds clocked at 162 kilometers per hour on Monday, smashing windows and causing other damage and dumping as much as 500 millimeters of rainfall in 48 hours, causing rivers to burst their banks, sparking mass evacuation orders in parts of western Japan.

Among the dead, police and disaster management officials reported they had dug a 72-year old woman out of the remains of her house on Monday in Shiga Prefecture, east of Kyoto, following her residence being leveled by a mudslide.

Rescue workers are still looking for a mother and her daughter in Mie Prefecture following their abandoned car being located next to a swollen river in Fukushima Prefecture. An elderly man is still missing, feared to have been swept away by a river.

Three other people also remain unaccounted for in Hyogo, Iwate and Ishikawa prefectures, also feared to have been swept away by fast-flowing rivers that had burst their banks, police and rescue officials said Tuesday.

The typhoon flooded more than 300 houses across central and western Japan and caused blackouts in around 80,000 homes, the disaster management agency reported.

In response to the disaster, the Prime Minister's office has set up an emergency task force to gauge the scale of damage caused by Man-yi on a national scale and the Ministry of Defense have deployed personnel to assist with rescue and cleanup operations.

In Japan's ancient capital of Kyoto, a popular tourist destination, the Katsura River burst its banks leading to major flooding and the evacuation of around 268,000 residents from the vicinity.

In a neighboring town of Fukuchiyama, the entire population of 81,246 residents was ordered to evacuate prior to a muddy, debris- filled torrent swallowing the town.

The evacuation order, issued by the meteorological agency's new early-warning system, allowed thousands more people vital minutes to flee the area prior to their town being devoured, the agency said.

"We haven't experienced flooding this bad for some time and we hope to learn from this experience to be better prepared for next time," Yoshinori Machida, a Kyoto City official was quoted by NHK as saying.

"We would like to review our warning system by interviewing local municipalities and residents," added Hiroshi Yokoyama, a representative from Japan's Meteorological Agency.

The agency said the tropical storm dumped an "unprecedented amount of rainfall" in Kyoto and two of its neighboring prefectures, although lifted its emergency warning for the areas on Monday, while urging residents to remain vigilant for instances of further mudslides and unstable land.

One of the major tourist spots in Kyoto City, Arashiyama, home to a Buddhist temple listed as a World Heritage site, was inundated with flood water, leaving locals and city officials clearing away debris and trying to pump out water from vehicles.

Following an inspection of Arashiyama Tuesday, Kyoto Governor Keiji Yamada said the local government would do all it could to ensure cleaning and reconstruction efforts were concluded as quickly as possible.

Transportation services around the country were severely hampered Monday, including Tokyo, the capital of Japan, but the transport ministry said Tuesday services in the capital and across central and western Japan had largely returned to normal.

Editor: Fu Peng
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